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Socialite raising money to repay fraud victims

Associated Press
June 18, 2012
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A New York socialite has raised more than half of the $7 million a court ordered her to repay after she pleaded guilty to duping an Indiana company and other corporations out of millions of dollars.

Dina Wein Reis, a well-known art collector in New York social circles, has raised about $4.4 million and expects to raise the remainder by December, according to documents filed this month in federal court in Indianapolis.

Prosecutors said the 48-year-old swindled companies in Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Kentucky and possibly other states. A judge in 2011 ordered Reis to pay restitution and other financial penalties as part of a plea agreement on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Indiana victims included Roche Diagnostics Corp., DowBrands and Clabber Girl Corp., according to court records.

Reis is raising the money in part by selling her art collection at Sotheby's in New York, according to the recent court documents. She had been released on her own recognizance so she could raise the required funds, but her attorney said that would take time.

"This is a bad economy. It's difficult and it takes time to raise any large amount of money," attorney J. Richard Kiefer said Monday.

Reis was accused of wining and dining corporate CEOS at her luxurious brownstone under the guise of a company looking for a new top executive. Then they were asked to provide discounted goods for distribution by a nonexistent network that supposedly provided products for use as samples at retail outlets or promotional packages for senior living communities and other special groups.

Instead, prosecutors said, Reis sold the goods for profit. Some of Reis' employees who also were charged were alleged to have assisted in the scheme.

A date for Reis' sentencing hasn't been set. According to court documents, Reis is requesting that the hearing be held in mid-December, after she has raised the money.

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